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ASA too tolerant of time-wasting whackjobs

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  • ASA too tolerant of time-wasting whackjobs

    March 19 2009

    I keep a fairly close eye on the Advertising Standards Authority website, in particular its complaints section. Not merely out of professional obligation but more so out of sheer morbid curiosity, for many of the complaints made to the ASA are outside the realms of logical thought and social norms.

    But within this week’s raft of complaints, one in particular left me wondering why such time-wasting complaints are tolerated.

    One C. Morgan complained about Fonterra Brands’ Tip Top Trumpet “flip to win” competition.

    The ad, published on an Adshel and on the Tip Top website, promoted a competition where ice cream aficionados would “flip the lid” on the Trumpet packaging to see if they had won.

    Instructions said “Check under your lid to see if you’ve won”. I began to wonder if “checking” under one’s “lid” was some sort of naughty new jargon the kids are now using, but no. The portion at which C. Morgan’s complaint was directed was the pink jelly tip inside the Jelly Tip Trumpet. You know, the jelly bit that makes the whole ice cream worthwhile.

    The image apparently shows a hand-held Trumpet ice-cream with a bite taken out of it, revealing its “pink jelly tip centre” amongst the “light coloured ice-cream” and chocolate chips. (Hungry yet?)

    The pink jelly tip was not to C. Morgan’s liking.

    “Within the image of the ice cream in the advertisement is what can only be described as a pink ***** which is offensive,” C. Morgan wrote.

    You might imagine that the ASA’s Code of Ethics doesn’t have a specific section titled “Blatantly Phallic Frozen Dairy Desserts,” so it shelved it under Rule 5 (advertisements should not contain anything that in light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product/services).

    The ASA chairman noted the concern expressed but was of the view that it showed the pink jelly tip in a “stylized manner” which, although open to interpretation, did not obviously display what the complainant alleged.

    The chairman ruled that there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

    I got a little curious, so I went on an e-search of the offending pink jelly tip, nestled salaciously among the “light-coloured ice-cream” and the nubile chocolate chips.

    Have a look – adult content only – on the Tip Top site here.

    So, several questions.

    Will you ever look at a Jelly Tip the same way again?

    Perhaps the Triple Chocolate variety looks a lot like Paris Hilton in her adult video?

    What would C. Morgan say about Rachel Hunter’s lickalicious appearance for the ice cream brand way back when?

    How much time, money and effort went into reading, judging and replying to such a moronic complaint?

    Should there be a penalty for time-wasting fools who make senseless complaints to the ASA?

    (And could someone at Tip Top please get rid of the rogue apostrophe in “Cookie’s and Cream” on the website? You’re driving me nutbuckets.)
    Source : http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/hazel-p...ting-whackjobs
    Patience is a virtue.